The Beatles: Rock Band Microsoft Press Conference Impressions

We check out the first official gameplay footage of The Beatles: Rock Band, complete with shaggy beards, psychedelia, and giant rabbit costumes.

by

Since its announcement in October last year, The Beatles: Rock Band has become one of the most anticipated games of 2009, set to make the Fab Four's music accessible to fans and gamers alike.

Today at Microsoft's E3 press conference Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos and president of MTV Networks Van Toffler revealed the opening cinematic for The Beatles: Rock Band, as well as 10 tracks from the game. The footage doesn't stray too far from what we've come to expect from the Rock Band games, with some new additions, such as multiple vocals in song tracks and extremely accurate motion-capture depicting the band's onstage mannerisms.

The trailer began with the CG versions of The Beatles playing in a basement (The Cavern, Liverpool, 1963) and quickly moved to a shot of them fleeing from screaming fans as "A Hard Day's Night" played in the background. The onscreen Beatles looked very similar to their real-life counterparts--in the same artistic style as previous Rock Band characterizations. Background visuals appeared highly stylized.

The trailer moved on to the Sgt. Pepper era of The Beatles' career with "Here Comes the Sun" and "I Am the Walrus", accompanied by psychedelic onscreen visuals, a giant elephant and an army of drums marching on legs, and a shot of the band dressed up in giant rabbit costumes.

We finally got to see some gameplay footage, revealing three vocalists singing simultaneously on the same track. We can probably guess this feature has been added to accommodate Beatles harmonies. Behind the track highway, there was also footage of The Beatles playing on stage, in various locations, such as the rooftop of Abbey Road, under the sea for "Octopus's Garden" and in a recording studio. The band members' mannerisms were also very realistic; for example, Paul and John often sang together on the same mic.

The artwork on the individual and band performance indicators also changed; for example, it depicted floral patterns for The Beatles's Sgt. Pepper era. The CG Beatles also aged extremely accurately--one shot revealed John wearing his signature round glasses and shaggy hair, while the other Beatles sport very scruffy beards.

The Beatles: Rock Band will include 45 songs, including the 10 tracks announced during the press conference. The game also featured replicas of the band's real instruments, including John Lennon's Rickenbacker 325 guitar, Paul McCartney’s Hofner bass, George Harrison’s Gretsch Duo Jet guitar, and Ringo Starr’s drums with classic black oyster pearl finish, as well as a Ludwig-branded Beatles kick drum head. It's out September 9, 2009.

Stay tuned for our full hands-on impressions from E3 2009.

Discussion

66 comments
megarobotoman
megarobotoman

@ Koruptshin I, in fact, have every Beatles album on my ipod and Im not 50. I'm 23. I collect their vinyls and have posters of them. I'm sorry you have such a closed mind.

jnewco81
jnewco81

I've been listening to The Beatles since I was 16, absolutely love them. Most modern music sucks balls by comparison

Illuve
Illuve

I gotta say.. you guys seem pretty concerned and bothered for "not caring" especially the ones that keep showing us how intelligent they are by adding, "oh, and this song... wasn't even when that guy was there singing in that one time the band was still together when I wasn't even alive... yeah it was a different time period and uh... Yoko Ono sucks! I know so much more than everybody else especially the people making the game... but this game sucks and beatles' music sucks, in fact, I don't even care actually..." thats what you sound like. Your little keyboards are clicking away and all I hear is... wah wah wah clickity clack i'm a big wanker...

Nekotenma
Nekotenma

Koruptshin, Yes I do have Beatles on my iPod, and no, I'm only 20. The Beatles are loved by many, so I think you're just being overly-biased right now. I'll talk to you when you take your head out of your ass.

Koruptshin
Koruptshin

DOES ANYONE HAVE BEATLES MUSIC ON THEIR IPOD i mean come you have to be 50 years old to be excited about the beatles

Spac3w33d
Spac3w33d

This doesnt seem like a real game just an add on

snax13
snax13

This is just getting stupid. This is turning into Madden only there is no new features, and probably never will be. Rockband and Guitar Hero are just BIG, HUGE, CASH COWS. I can safely use the phrase, "That was so 7th grade."

SSBFan12
SSBFan12

I might rent this game but not buy it.

blackace
blackace

Looks interesting. I like most of the Beatles music. I may have to pick this up. I wonder if my Guitar Hero guitars will work with this game or not?

megarobotoman
megarobotoman

Oh yea, and "Here Comes the Sun" was from Abbey Road, not Sgt. Pepper.

megarobotoman
megarobotoman

@danopix If you want to learn real guitar then go pick up a REAL GUITAR and take lessons. You seem to forget this is a video game and is meant for casual enjoyment. Folks who play actual music also play rhthym-based games because its FUN. Try to be more open-minded.

aok1425
aok1425

"Here Comes the Sun" was not from the Sgt. Pepper's era, it was long after!

SpikedStrider
SpikedStrider

I think it looks awesome, but I am more excited about the Van Halen version.

ChidoriBoyU
ChidoriBoyU

another button mashing music game *sigh* from guitar hero to rockband to the beatles all are the same booooooooring

nightsinner
nightsinner

I'm sorry you've got to ask how many kids even know who the Beatles are? I just had a seventeen year old ask me who Van Halen was, I don't think this is going to be that popular unless you're like me and you're just a kid that never grew up. And did you see Paul and Ringo at the Microsoft E3 Press Conference? Did the two of them even know a video game was being made with them as the theme five minutes before they hit the stage? Or I guess drugs are really bad for you. You've got to be joking Microsoft???

asian_pride69
asian_pride69

Looking forward to playing the Beatles classics...sweet :D

Sir_Hobo
Sir_Hobo

Only 45 songs? Hmmm... This will probably still be worth it though.

PSFreak1
PSFreak1

im not really into the beatles, so ill pass thank u

houtx1836
houtx1836

I wonder what John would say

xXxManslayerxXx
xXxManslayerxXx

@danopix Well i feel the same, but you do learn how to sing (in an empirical way) and the drums are different but you learn the basics of rythm, maybe you should try one or both of them. The guitar in my opinion is fun but just useless so i don't like it much.

Junior_AIN
Junior_AIN

Another Rock Band...........I say no.

gmax
gmax

I don't know why, but this one just feels... odd.

danopix
danopix

I really wish I liked rythm based games. Rockband... Guitar Hero. It would be awesome to play Beatles stuff. But I can't get over the fact that I'm learning and perfecting a completely useless skill. If it taught you how to play an ACTUAL guitar, I'd be all over it.

KWHCoaster
KWHCoaster

@ mrsnowy - time for a Ritalin(tm) tablet...

Zacek
Zacek

We can play with 3 guitars and one bass? WHere can I find that info?

quiman12
quiman12

This game will get even those people who are turned off by typical rock band. The Beatles: Rock Band= $$$!!

Chris_555_TK
Chris_555_TK

Paul and Ringo looked like and acted like they REALLY didn't care about the game...I'm with them!

Vegeta-sama
Vegeta-sama

WTF? Why would you want 3 guitarist? AT MOST you want a lead and a secondary... although it would be interesting X-D

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

Looks very cool. Hope it comes soon!

mssousa
mssousa

I still don't see different jewels for hit-hat and cymbals.....

azureblade89
azureblade89

Yo...so does that mean we'll be able to have 3 guitarists? Cause if so that just killed Guitar Hero 5.

JiminycricketX
JiminycricketX

I can only hope that they'll eventually do 'The Who: Rock Band".

kidgorgeous_594
kidgorgeous_594

OH....and Topraman...yes they also mentioned the game being a precursor to the re-release of the entire catalog being remastered....now is it gonna be on iTunes like everyone wants? .....NFI

kidgorgeous_594
kidgorgeous_594

They don't mention it in this article, but at the debut presentation, the dude specifically said 45 songs, 10 shown there on stage, and later "entire albums available for download, starting with Abbey Road in its entirety, to be released shortly after the game is." So no worrying about lack of songs...there's over 230 in the catalog! Im a huge Beatle fan, but not so much of video game guitar/band games. Nonetheless, its awesome that their awesome music will be around in one more format to be appreciated for the masses. btw...Lol at Rolling Stones being better musicians. Flame away, but really...cmon man.

Phaselinear
Phaselinear

Well, a whole newer generation of people get to become fans of the fab 4. Great ploy by the surviving players in the band.

Incetardis
Incetardis

45 songs only? that is so weak, Harmonix. you make a Beatles game, why couldn't you pack the entire disc with more songs? not everybody has xbox live.... But i digress. Guitar Hero 5 better have an impeccable song list cus im buying this.

Wolf-Man2006
Wolf-Man2006

45 songs is seriously not enough for a beatles game.

zaiwen
zaiwen

Fab Four is the Ultimate Rock Band

Vimanesba
Vimanesba

I'm probably getting this, but I wonder if we'll be able to get the songs, the band, and the new scenarios playable with the RB2 game disc. Because changing the discs just to play a song you want is really annoying. Any news about that?

ElChooch
ElChooch

Not too pumped about this one... call it a combination of my burnout with the Beatles and Guitar Hero in general. I mean, I grew up loving the Beatles and all, but to me they just aren't the musicians the Stones and so many other great bands were. Definitely curious about this "exclusive track" though.

Apocolypse_Cow
Apocolypse_Cow

I can't wait for this game! So excited. I want to know the full tracklist _desperately_.

topraman517
topraman517

If I played Rock Band/Guitar Hero, this would be a definite game to look forward to. This game looks like a better tribute to the Beatles than GH Metallica was for Metallica. As it is, I hope this game leads to the release of the long promised remastered Beatles CDs.

Cricket_Sloat
Cricket_Sloat

hmm beatles RB or lego RB? (if you think im serious, i pity you)